Turkish President Erdogan Meets With Putin In Effort To Mend Relations

Aug 9, 2016
Originally published on August 9, 2016 5:47 pm
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When you've been mad at someone for a long time, it's a big deal when you finally decide to talk and hang out. That's why there's been a lot of attention today on a meeting between the leaders of Russia and Turkey. The countries have been at odds since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border last November. NPR's Corey Flintoff reports.

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: Russian leader Vladimir Putin hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St. Petersburg. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two since Turkey downed the Russian jet and Putin accused Erdogan of delivering a treacherous stab in the back. Today's display of friendship came after Erdogan apologized and said the Turkish pilot who shot down the Russian plane is in custody. For his part, Putin recalled that he'd offered support to Erdogan after last month's failed coup in Turkey.

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PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Speaking Russian).

FLINTOFF: "I was among the first to call you after the coup attempt," Putin said. "We always stand up against unconstitutional actions." Erdogan welcomed that support and may be contrasting it with reactions from the United States and other Western allies who've expressed concern over Turkey's crackdown on alleged coup sympathizers. Russia's retaliation for the shoot down cost Turkey billions of dollars in lost revenue. The Kremlin blocked millions of tourists from taking their holidays at Turkish beaches, and it banned imports of many Turkish farm products.

Russia is promising to lift those bans. In return, the Turkish president spoke of renewing plans for two big Russian projects. Speaking through an interpreter, he said Ankara is prepared to invest in a stalled Russian nuclear power project in Turkey.

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PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: (Through interpreter) And in addition, the Turkish Stream pipeline, the Turkish Stream project will be implemented as well.

FLINTOFF: Turkish Stream is a proposed pipeline that would bring Russian gas to Southern Europe, something that's opposed by many European Union countries that are trying to reduce their dependence on Russian energy. Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Moscow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.